This review is an extract from the excellent club magazine produced by the the Jowett Car Club of Australia Inc. It was written by the editor, Ron Withington.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a capable man in possession of ambition, time and modest dollars must be in want of a sports car. Jane Austin famously said something like this in the first lines of Pride and Prejudice, and she could only drive in a horse and buggy. The new book by Bruce Polain describes how the sports car infection of hundreds of drivers was facilitated by the ingenuity of three dedicated Australians – Sam Johnson, Geoff Williams and Grant Furzer, the creators of JWF Glass Fibre Industries. In essence their work in the Post-WWII reconstruction era meant that the owner of say a lowly grey Austin 7 could lift off the clunky body from his car and with sundry other changes replace it with a gleaming fibre glass streamliner in scorching scarlet, labelled a ‘Milano 750’, channeling famous names like Ferrari and Alfa-Romeo. The JWF Story traces the line of sixty years, from beginnings in a backyard shed in which school mates began making scale model racing cars to the building the Milano and following that with the Italia, a shape better suited to bodies of longer wheelbase. Theirs was a serendipitous teaming. Sam Johnson who was legally blind as a youth, had a fascination with new fibre glass technology. Geoff Williams was described as a natural engineer who could take apart and rebuild any machine. Grant Furzer was a fine model maker with an eye for shape and streamlining and able to bring alluring designs to life. And they not only produced the bodies, but raced the cars themselves.
Once launched, their two conversions spread rapidly to other marques and models: among them Holden Grey and 179, Ford Zephyr, Austin 1500, MGTC, Triumph 2-3, Simca, Chevrolet V8. Singer and Jowett Jupiter, and earned the trio the enthusiasm and loyalty of motor racing enthusiasts around the world.
The JWF Story is a handsome soft cover, large-text book of 150 A4-size pages in full colour. Almost every entry is accompanied by one or more good quality photographs which make it a delight to read. The reputation and enthusiasm of the author and his easy conversational style will confirm this as a valuable contribution to our Australian
It sells for $50 plus $15 postage. I obtained my copy from Bruce at [email protected], but I have an inkling that the first edition is well nigh sold out; you may have to be
patient – the book shows that there must still be a lot of Milanos (in particular) lying around in sheds somewhere just waiting to find a place in a sequel.”
FROM THE READERS:
“… a very easy and enjoyable read. The method of tracing the particular models sequentially through the various owners was a unique and logical way to handle this story. Good pieces on the characters, race cars, specials and internationals…great to have this JWF record for the first time. And forever”. Rob Luck (NSW).
“It kept me up reading late last night…I learned more in 1 1/2 hours last night than the last four years.” Peter Brown (Qld).
“I’m now on my second reading of the JWF story! I have gained a great insight into the people and fabulous cars in the JWF fraternity. Quite amazing – the achievements of so many in various parts of Australia and the world.” Robbie Mills (Tas).
“What a great Australian motoring history story. Thank you for a great book.” Ted Hinton (Qld).
“Can’t put it down…such a marvellous history book. I feel privileged to have had the joy of owning a JWF Milano. Well done Bruce, Sam and Ned”. Malcolm Shaw (NSW).
“This is a brilliant book. Congratulations on the massive effort in doing this mammoth project. No easy task!” Jeff Morrow (NSW).
“John Burke & Warren Dewey rang saying: what a great book with so many photos – also Mike Batten sent me a text very pleased with his copy. Two mates Bob Smith & Jack Hughes rang me to say what a great book so pleased – they did not know JWF made so many Milanos.” Ned McGovern (NSW).
“Congratulations on a great book. BP and Sam you have done JWF proud.” Paul Cross (NSW).
“Sam. Thanks for all your hard work on this book (and very much your story). Without you, Milano’s would not be around.” John Wright (NSW).
“I just wanted to let you know how great the book is. I surprised my father with his copy last night. He was really chuffed to see our dirty old beast sharing the pages with some of the most beautiful cars in the world (we think so anyway!).” Adam Green (Vic).
“Just to be a snippet in the history of those cars is great”. Gordon Warwick (NSW).
“A great read and a story that is Australian in every way. The team effort(s) to gain details & history must have been time consuming, satisfying and well worth it.” John Phillips (NSW).
“Comprehensive, colourful, graphic, proud, but laced with humility, it is a testament to mateship, persistence, lifetimes of enthusiasm and ingenuity and art. In my opinion a very good and necessary record from our times. Well done, you, and all”. John Medley (NSW).
“This well-presented book is a must for Australian motoring enthusiasts – written by the people who were involved, it is a factual record of the development of the beautiful JWF sports car bodies that have clothed so many Australian sports racing cars. The stories of the owners are all different but they all exude the same sheer pleasure, excitement and fulfilment in building and restoring old cars”. Barry Clarke (NSW).
“I thoroughly enjoyed the book & when I have 5 minutes to spare, over coffee, I revisit various sections. It’s a great book to bring back memories of some special people that have passed through my “Milano days”. The JWF STORY is a fabulous read & congratulations to you, Sam & all the others”. Mike Morris (Qld).
“My father in law & myself congratulate you on a fantastic & interesting read. We were amazed at the style of the car that never seems to age. Peter Buckingham (Qld).
“Great to see a chronicle on this important part of Australian motoring and motorsport that has all but disappeared. Bruce Polain was the right person to pull it all together as he was there at the time” Stephen Knox (NSW).
“You did an exceptional research job on the book. Well done.” Peter McKay (NSW).